Bakers Company

Sechseläuten 2024

Zunftmeister Christian Staedeli, and Past Master and Consort Christopher and Christina Freeman

Past Master Christopher Freeman Reports:

It was my great pleasure to represent the Company at Sechselauten 2024 in Zurich. This is an annual celebration to welcome Spring and Summer held in Zurich organised by the 26 guilds of Zurich. Christina and I were guests of the Zunft Zum Weggen which is the Bakers Guild of Zurich. The event is held over several days and on Sunday 14th April was the parade through Zurich by the children of the guilds (photo 1).

 The parade took over an hour to pass and the streets of Zurich were packed with locals and tourists. It was very colourful with many marching bands. The final carriage was that of the Boogg which is an effigy of a snowman which is usually burnt at the end of the Sechselauten as the final event (photo 2).

Monday 15th April was the parade of all the Guilds of Zurich. The day started with a visit to the Guild House (photo 3) and from there a short walk to the Grossmunster  where it is traditional for bread rolls to be thrown out from the church tower. All this is done with musical accompaniment from the Bakers Guild band. Back to the Guild House for lunch and many speeches all in Swiss Deutsch. (photo 4). The band had a special surprise for us and played Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance. 

After lunch we gathered for the parade. I accompanied the Master and other honoured guests who were National politicians who spent the whole day with the Guild (17.5 hours!). The parade was over three miles long and the streets were lined with people, many running out to give the Guild Master and politicians flowers. (photo 5). It was quite an experience. At the end of the parade everyone gathers on Sechselautenplatz  for the burning of the Boogg. Sadly, it was very windy and the officials decided it would not be safe to light the fire under the Boogg (photo 6).

The Boogg has fireworks in its head and traditionally the length of time it takes for the fireworks to be ignited determines the sort of summer that will follow. The residents of Zurich now have no idea what the summer weather will be like!

On return to the Guild House we had a delicious dinner and more speeches and more music. After dinner it is traditional that all  the Guilds visit three other Guilds and are visited by three Guilds. (photo 7). Finally there was a visit from members of the Young Bakers Guild with more speeches. The day finally finished at 3.30am.

It was a wonderful experience and we were very well looked after. Highly recommend future Masters take up this opportunity if it comes!